It has been a little more than 46 years since President Richard Nixon made his historic visit to The People’s Republic of China.
It turned out to be a major diplomatic coup for the darkly devious president, breaking through a quarter century of ice between China and the United States.
Even the most malevolent president in U.S. history (at the time) was able to accomplish something important. As historians noted, only Nixon could go to China.
Maybe they’ll be saying the same thing about Florida’s part-time resident, President Donald Trump, for his just-concluded summit with North Korea’s malevolent dictator Kim Jong Un.
History might show that only a scoundrel could talk to a scoundrel.
Trump’s arms-length relationship with the truth, his juvenile insults, and his penchant for answering every question about ethical lapses with the same two-word answer — Hillary Clinton — may have convinced his North Korean counterpart that this was his kind of guy.
And President Trump got to enjoy a brief respite in the news from Robert Mueller’s investigation into his ties with Russia.
Of course, the president also is a little shaky with details about what he just agreed to, so for all we know he may have signed over Seattle to the North Koreans as part of the art of this deal.
But seriously, this could be the breakthrough of all time — and, obviously, we hope it is. I guess we’ll find out when we do.
It seems that Trump dangled the promise of prosperity for the notoriously poor people of North Korea, and that was smart — although it wouldn’t surprise anyone if all that money and so on wound up in the vault at the North Korean presidential mansion.
But hey, if it works and the rogue nation really does dispose of its nuclear stockpile — color me skeptical — then Trump will add that to the lists of things he pulled off that no other U.S. president could accomplish.
Alas, that list also includes insulting and threatening longtime allies while continuing to insist Vladimir Putin is really just misunderstood.
After Trump’s abysmal showing at the G-7 summit last week, the question went out far and wide to Republicans across the land — why aren’t your voices raised in thunderous protest?
Do you really want foreign policy operating under the doctrine, as one top inside source told the Atlantic this week, “We’re America, Bitch.”
Somewhere around 40 percent of the country apparently does.
We’ll find out if that number increases by November’s midterms because Democrats are going all-out and Trump will be at the center of everything they say — even when they’re not saying his name.
That’s true in Florida especially, where Democrat Bill Nelson is in the fight of his political life to hold on to his U.S. Senate seat against Gov. Rick Scott.
But for now, Trump has something to talk about besides investigations and angry allies.
Good for him.
He might be wise to keep a little history in mind though.
Nixon called his China trip “the week that changed the world” — and history has shown that to be true.
He also hoped it would make people forget about the Vietnam War and the exploding Watergate scandal.
They did not.
Still, Nixon, a scoundrel of the highest order, was forced from office two years and odd months after that breakthrough.
And it’s about two years and odd months before the 2020 presidential election.
It’s just something to keep in mind.